Fuel quality standards
Amendments to Australian Automotive Diesel and Biodiesel Fuel Quality Standards
The Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities develops and reviews fuel quality standards under the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 (the Act) to reduce the level of pollutants and emissions from fuel, to encourage advanced emissions control technology and to enable more effective operation of engines. The Act also ensures that, where appropriate, information about fuel is provided when fuel is supplied. The assessment and review of fuel quality standards is an important part of the Government's continuing work to improve air quality and deliver cleaner fuels.
Following extensive stakeholder consultation amendments have been made to the Fuel Standard (Automotive Diesel) Determination 2001 (the diesel standard) to allow up to five per cent biodiesel fuel without a labelling requirement from 1 March 2009. Minor technical amendments have also been made to update the Fuel Standard (Biodiesel) Determination 2003 (the biodiesel standard).
The use of five per cent blends is generally accepted by vehicle manufacturers and does not require modification of standard diesel engines. These amendments provide certainty to consumers, fuel retails and the fuel industry. Motorists can have confidence that when they buy diesel, if supplied to the standard, it will meet current international fuel quality standards.
There are circumstances where the use of blends with more than five per cent biodiesel, such as 80 per cent diesel and 20 per cent biodiesel or B20, are appropriate – for example in commercial truck or bus fleets and mining vehicles. In the short-term the supply of higher blends will be managed via an approvals process. Labelling will be a condition of any approval for supply of blends over five per cent. The fuel must be clearly labelled at the point of sale or supply identifying the fuel as a blend of diesel and biodiesel and must not be misrepresented as suitable for all diesel vehicles. The onus is on the vehicle or fleet owner to make sure their vehicles are able to operate on the higher percentage level blend. If concerned, consumers should check with fuel suppliers and/or vehicle manufacturers.